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Poetry Summer 2015    fiction    all issues


Cover Hannah Lansburgh

Jennifer Leigh Stevenson
For Your Own Good
& other poems

Marianne S. Johnson
& other poems

Kate Magill
Nest Study #1
& other poems

Karen Kraco
& other poems

Matt Daly
Beneath Your Bark
& other poems

Paulette Guerin
& other poems

Hank Hudepohl
Crossed Words
& other poems

Alma Eppchez
At the Back of the Road Atlas
& other poems

Jim Burrows
At the Megachurch
& other poems

Rachel Stolzman Gullo
& other poems

Yana Lyandres
New York Transplant
& other poems

Heather Katzoff
& other poems

Tom Yori
& other poems

Barth Landor
What Is Left
& other poems

Abigail F. Taylor
Never So Still
& other poems

George Longenecker
Polar Bears Drowning
& other poems

Ben Cromwell
Sometimes a Flock of Birds
& other poems

Robert Mammano
the way the ground shakes
& other poems

Janet Smith
Rocket Ship
& other poems

Gina Loring
& other poems

J. Lee Strickland
Minoan Elegy
& other poems

Toni Hanner
Catching the Baby
& other poems

Writer's Site

Rachel Stolzman Gullo


When my man stood in the morning kitchen

His shadow cast an exact likeness.

Brown flecked yellow linoleum, his soot profile

Not a husband, round forehead, swollen lips, wandering eye.

In 1950, they call him Negro, they call me Jewess.

If he knew what I was carrying, would he have

sat at my table nine months?

A Jewess and a Negress both carry nine months.

Would anyone believe that in 1950?

Yes, a woman with child knows the turn of a day.

A Jew has nowhere to go on Sunday morning.

My man ducked his hard head out the door a June Sunday.

In January the shadows are short.

There were no shadows in the room when we glimpsed the crown.

I took her from them, we locked eyes

already familiar her heart smell

I could have licked her clean.

On berries, squash, ripe bananas, milk bottles with honey she grows.

There is heat on her belly when I put our skin to skin

There is a sun inside.

I know how to calm a tidal wave

I can put a hurricane down for a nap.

In 1954 my kitchen is set for a party.

All of our guests bring sunflowers

we have honey cake, four beeswax candles

All around I hear the buzzing of a hive.

I lean down to peer into her eyes,

golden, they are happily distracted.

“Mommy, look at me next to you!”

I scoop her up and our shadow is an unrecognizable animal.

At night in my clean house when I try to think,

the street noise through the window distracts me.

Out there the language hasn’t changed,

but through a mere pane of glass it loses all meaning.

I step inside her room.

Her mane on the pillow thrills me

her eyelids gently lowered over a dream

lashes brush the night air.

I bend my mouth to her ear and carefully, “Lioness.”

Her mouth curves into a tender smile at the sight of herself.

The Diviner

When you cried for the first time, my new love

the stars skittered off the night’s face

and I braced my arms

To keep the cloth on the table.

Then I understood

how a mere wall of stone

held back the crusaders

at the shore of Rhodes.

A salmon can press

through nine hundred pounds of river

upstream, to its birthplace, lay eggs

like thousands of pin-pricks.

A man with eyes closed

guided by a forked branch

can dig two stories, underground, with a shovel

to draw water for a herd of sheep, lying down.

I can fathom these powers,

I knew you enough.

What shocked was the strength

I’d never known—in crying.

The Eighties Were Different

If your best friend was a child actress, you went on auditions with her.

And if you were sitting in a waiting room, and fourteen, you had a chance to audition too.

Once I almost got a Doritos spot

because my teeth were better than hers.

I bit into six Doritos for the camera

and I never felt more semitic.

But her everything else was better than mine, and neither of us got it.

When she landed a role on Charles in Charge, I spent the week on set with her.

The cast and crew treated us both like new friends.

The Eighties were more innocent, even when they were so gritty.

I asked Ricky Shroder what he wanted for his birthday.

He told me a box of condoms.

At the tender age of fifteen she lost her virginity to an overweight boy in the bedroom of a party.

She regretted it within minutes.

It was my brilliant idea that we tell him she was a prostitute and that he owed her a hundred bucks.

We both liked this idea.

We did it, but he didn’t pay.

Rachel Stolzman’s novel, The Sign for Drowning, was published by Trumpeter in 2008. She received her MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Her fiction and poetry have received numerous awards. She lives in the old Brooklyn and is invisible to the bearded, artisanal hipsters of the new Brooklyn. She can be found at her son’s public school or writing at the Brooklyn public library or working at her government job, where sometimes poems are conceived under the fluorescents.

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